Research indicates that carbon dioxide removal plans will not be enough to meet Paris treaty goals

New research conducted by the University of East Anglia (UEA) suggests that current carbon removal plans will not be enough to comply with Paris treaty goals to limit global warming to 1.5C, as reported in a study published by Nature. Scientists came to this conclusion by measuring the “emissions gap” between various national climate protection plans and what is actually needed to reach that goal.

This first-of-its-kind study found a gap of up to 3.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) between current global plans to remove carbon from the atmosphere and what’s needed by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. These impacts include heatwaves, floods, droughts, melting ice and sea level rise.

Since 2010, the United Nations environmental organization UNEP has taken similar measurements of this emissions gap. UEA’s research, which focuses primarily on CO2 removal, indicates that climate policy requires a more ambitious scope if we are to, well, survive as a species.

This means a more nuanced and robust approach that still keeps current carbon removal practices in place, but with a renewed focus on cutting emissions, renewable energy and minimizing deforestation. There are also novel carbon removal options that many nations have been slow to discuss, let alone implement.

These include advanced air filters systems and enhanced rock weathering. The latter is a technique in which carbon is removed from the atmosphere and stored in rocks. These techniques account for the removal of just 0.002 billion tons of C02 per year, compared to 3 billion tons through conventional options. The research indicates that these novel options must become more prevalent in the coming years to help meet that 1.5C threshold.

“The calculation should certainly be refined,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. William Lamb, of the MCC Applied Sustainability Science working group. “This much is clear: without a rapid reduction in emissions towards zero, across all sectors, the 1.5C limit will not be met under any circumstances.”

Co-author Dr. Naomi Vaughan, of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at UEA, added that “countries need more awareness, ambition and action on scaling up carbon dioxide removal methods together with deep emissions reductions to achieve the aspirations of the Paris Agreement."

To that end, even if every country sticks to promises regarding carbon removal targets, the amount of carbon removed would likely increase by a maximum of 0.5 billion tons by 2030 and 1.9 billion tons by 2050. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that it would take a removal increase of 5.1 billion tons to avoid the worst effects of climate change. So, yeah, there’s that gap of 3.2 billion tons.

We aren’t doomed, at least not yet anyways. The IPCC suggests an alternative scenario in which the world’s governments work together to reduce global energy demand, hastened by “politically initiated behavior.” In this scenario, carbon removal would increase by 2.5 billion tons by 2050 and alternative methods would help tighten the emissions gap to just 400 million tons. So we basically have to shift our entire society from one of self interest to one of global cooperation. It never hurts to dream and, hey, maybe AI will swoop in and save us

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/research-indicates-that-carbon-dioxide-removal-plans-will-not-be-enough-to-meet-paris-treaty-goals-161113129.html?src=rss

Razer will refund Zephyr mask buyers due to bogus N95 claims

Razer has to pay over $1.1 million to the Federal Trade Commission to settle complaints that it advertised its infamous Zephyr masks as N95-grade when it didn't get them certified at all. The gaming peripheral maker released Zephyr, its high-tech face mask with built-in RGB lighting, during the height of the pandemic. Half a year later, in early 2022, it introduced a "Pro" version that added voice amplification. Razer said back then the Zephyr was as effective as an N95 mask, but it later reneged on its claim and removed all references to "N95-grade" filters from its website and other marketing materials after it came out that the company didn't obtain proper certification. 

According to the FTC, Razer never submitted the Zephyr masks for testing to the FDA or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which gives out the official certification for masks that filter out 95 percent of airborne particles. Razer certainly isn't in the list of companies that manufacture N95 masks approved by NIOSH on its website. In the FTC's complaint, it accused Razer of only stopping its false advertising after consumer outrage. 

The company has to hand over what it earned from selling Zephyr — that's $1,071,254.33 in revenue — to the FTC, which the agency will then use to refund affected consumers. To note, the Zephyr masks cost customers at least $100. It will pay $100,000 in fine over its unsubstantiated health claims, as well. In addition to ordering Razer refund customers, the FTC also prohibited the company from making any claims that it's selling products that reduce the likelihood of being infected with or transmitting the COVID-19 virus without proper FDA approval. Razer has also been prohibited from claiming health benefits for its products without scientific evidence to support them, as well as from "falsely claiming that any product meets government-established standards when it has not."

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/razer-will-refund-zephyr-mask-buyers-due-to-bogus-n95-claims-083127094.html?src=rss

Razer will refund Zephyr mask buyers due to bogus N95 claims

Razer has to pay over $1.1 million to the Federal Trade Commission to settle complaints that it advertised its infamous Zephyr masks as N95-grade when it didn't get them certified at all. The gaming peripheral maker released Zephyr, its high-tech face mask with built-in RGB lighting, during the height of the pandemic. Half a year later, in early 2022, it introduced a "Pro" version that added voice amplification. Razer said back then the Zephyr was as effective as an N95 mask, but it later reneged on its claim and removed all references to "N95-grade" filters from its website and other marketing materials after it came out that the company didn't obtain proper certification. 

According to the FTC, Razer never submitted the Zephyr masks for testing to the FDA or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which gives out the official certification for masks that filter out 95 percent of airborne particles. Razer certainly isn't in the list of companies that manufacture N95 masks approved by NIOSH on its website. In the FTC's complaint, it accused Razer of only stopping its false advertising after consumer outrage. 

The company has to hand over what it earned from selling Zephyr — that's $1,071,254.33 in revenue — to the FTC, which the agency will then use to refund affected consumers. To note, the Zephyr masks cost customers at least $100. It will pay $100,000 in fine over its unsubstantiated health claims, as well. In addition to ordering Razer refund customers, the FTC also prohibited the company from making any claims that it's selling products that reduce the likelihood of being infected with or transmitting the COVID-19 virus without proper FDA approval. Razer has also been prohibited from claiming health benefits for its products without scientific evidence to support them, as well as from "falsely claiming that any product meets government-established standards when it has not."

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/razer-will-refund-zephyr-mask-buyers-due-to-bogus-n95-claims-083127094.html?src=rss

PUBG will take a nostalgia-infused trip back to its first map in May

PUBG: Battlegrounds is somehow old enough to evoke nostalgia. The pioneering battle royale game, which entered Steam Early Access in 2017, will borrow a page from Fortnite’s playbook and honor its first map. Erangel Classic will recreate the old-school battlefield from the game’s inception for a limited two-week run in May and June.

Developer and publisher Krafton says the Erangel Classic map will reproduce the original’s concepts, graphics, atmosphere and UI. However, it will blend those with “modern tweaks” to deliver “the enjoyable gameplay experiences that players have grown accustomed to.” In other words, much like remasters of other classic games, the goal is to feel as close to the original as possible without chucking out all of its subtle quality-of-life improvements from the game’s evolution.

Still from PUBG, featuring a player taking cover behind a crate with an assault rifle. Rural scene with an old house behind.
Krafton

If the revamped map idea sounds familiar, Fortnite brought back its original 2018 island map late last year, breaking its records for player counts. (It peaked at 44.7 million players, marking its biggest day ever.) It’s easy to see why Krafton would want a piece of that action.

Specific nods to the original map include foggy and rainy weather to add an air of unpredictability. In addition, you’ll find bench weapons on the starting island (get ready to scramble for your favorite), and all weapons will have reduced recoil to match the original. It will also have a Tommy Gun in the care package, a vintage map UI and a “charmingly tacky font and graphics.”

The tiered rollout will arrive on PCs and consoles at different times, extending the playtime for those who own the game on multiple platforms (perhaps helping Krafton sell a few extra in-game items). Erangel Classic will be available in PUBG: Battlegrounds on PC from May 14 to May 28 and on consoles from May 23 to June 6, replacing the modern Erangel map during those periods. Krafton says the May 14 patch notes will go into more detail about all the map’s changes, so keep an eye out.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/pubg-will-take-a-nostalgia-infused-trip-back-to-its-first-map-in-may-194736249.html?src=rss

England’s NHS will provide artificial pancreas to thousands of diabetes patients

England’s National Health Service (NHS) said on Tuesday that “tens of thousands of children and adults” with type 1 diabetes will receive an “artificial pancreas” to help manage their insulin levels. The hybrid closed loop system — a sensor under the skin that sends wireless readings to an externally worn pump, which delivers insulin as needed — can help patients avoid the risks of type 1 diabetes without worrying about finger sticks or injections.

This isn’t the first device of its kind. Tandem makes similar insulin pumps in the US after it received FDA authorization in 2019. Gizmodo notes that another company called iLet got FDA approval for a similar device last year. Although the NHS hasn’t said which specific device(s) its program will use, what’s different here is the nation’s publicly funded health care system providing them for free rather than as an exclusive privilege for the well-to-do. (Sigh.)

The hybrid closed loop system starts with a sensor implanted beneath the skin, which continually monitors glucose levels at regular intervals. The sensor sends that data wirelessly to a pump, worn externally, which delivers the proper insulin dosage. The “hybrid” part of its name comes from the fact that some user input, including entering carb intake, is still required in the otherwise self-regulating system.

The government agency gave an ultra-precise figure of 269,095 people in England living with type 1 diabetes, highlighting how many folks could potentially benefit from the rollout. The NHS says local branches will begin identifying patients for the program starting on Tuesday.

“Diabetes is a tough and relentless condition, but these systems make a significant, life-changing difference — improving both the overall health and quality of life for people with diabetes,” Colette Marshall, chief executive of Diabetes UK, wrote in the NHS’s press release announcing the rollout. “This really is a landmark moment and we’ll be working with the NHS and others to ensure a fair rollout that reaches people as quickly as possible.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/englands-nhs-will-provide-artificial-pancreas-to-thousands-of-diabetes-patients-203236067.html?src=rss

England’s NHS will provide artificial pancreas to thousands of diabetes patients

England’s National Health Service (NHS) said on Tuesday that “tens of thousands of children and adults” with type 1 diabetes will receive an “artificial pancreas” to help manage their insulin levels. The hybrid closed loop system — a sensor under the skin that sends wireless readings to an externally worn pump, which delivers insulin as needed — can help patients avoid the risks of type 1 diabetes without worrying about finger sticks or injections.

This isn’t the first device of its kind. Tandem makes similar insulin pumps in the US after it received FDA authorization in 2019. Gizmodo notes that another company called iLet got FDA approval for a similar device last year. Although the NHS hasn’t said which specific device(s) its program will use, what’s different here is the nation’s publicly funded health care system providing them for free rather than as an exclusive privilege for the well-to-do. (Sigh.)

The hybrid closed loop system starts with a sensor implanted beneath the skin, which continually monitors glucose levels at regular intervals. The sensor sends that data wirelessly to a pump, worn externally, which delivers the proper insulin dosage. The “hybrid” part of its name comes from the fact that some user input, including entering carb intake, is still required in the otherwise self-regulating system.

The government agency gave an ultra-precise figure of 269,095 people in England living with type 1 diabetes, highlighting how many folks could potentially benefit from the rollout. The NHS says local branches will begin identifying patients for the program starting on Tuesday.

“Diabetes is a tough and relentless condition, but these systems make a significant, life-changing difference — improving both the overall health and quality of life for people with diabetes,” Colette Marshall, chief executive of Diabetes UK, wrote in the NHS’s press release announcing the rollout. “This really is a landmark moment and we’ll be working with the NHS and others to ensure a fair rollout that reaches people as quickly as possible.”

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/englands-nhs-will-provide-artificial-pancreas-to-thousands-of-diabetes-patients-203236067.html?src=rss

Fitbit’s health chatbot will arrive later this year

Like most other corners of the tech world, Google sees AI powering the next innovations in health technology. The company’s annual The Check Up event expanded on its plans to add a personal health chatbot to the Fitbit app, expand Google Lens for better skin condition searches and use a version of its Gemini chatbot in the medical field.

One of the more intriguing of Google’s announcements on Tuesday was more detail about an experimental AI feature for Fitbit users, briefly teased last year. Fitbit Labs will let owners draw correlations and “connect the dots” from health data tracked using their wearable devices. A chatbot in the mobile app will let you ask questions in natural language and create personalized charts to learn about your health.

The company hasn’t yet gone into great depth about the Fitbit chatbot, but an example it published Tuesday shows a user asking about potential connections between activity and sleep. The Fitbit assistant answered that the user’s days with higher activity scores correlated with better sleep (while cautioning not to assume that’s the only reason).

The Fitbit generative AI tool will arrive later this year. Google says it will (at least initially) only be available to Fitbit Premium subscribers with Android devices enrolled in the Fitbit Labs program.

Google screenshot of an upcoming Fitbit feature that answers personal health questions. The user's text box asks about connections between their activity and sleep, and the bot says that when they spend 58+ minutes in activity zones, their sleep score rose by nine points.
Google / Fitbit

The company sees Google Lens as filling some healthcare gaps where text-based searches fall short. It says a feature (introduced last year) that uses Lens to identify “visually similar matches from the web” for skin conditions is now available in over 150 countries. It can work even when you don’t know where to begin when describing a dermatological disorder.

In a similar light, Google has added new images and diagrams to its web results from reputable online sources to help you understand conditions like neck pain. Up next: The company sees the visual results powering its searches for more health conditions, including migraines, kidney stones and pneumonia. The visual search engine updates are expected to roll out over the next few months.

The company also mentioned that Fitbit and Google Research are partnering with health and wellness experts and other medical professionals to create a new AI model for health and wellness. The long-term goal is for the Gemini-powered large language model (LLM) to power its future AI features across Google’s various health offerings.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/fitbits-health-chatbot-will-arrive-later-this-year-210609008.html?src=rss

Fitbit’s health chatbot will arrive later this year

Like most other corners of the tech world, Google sees AI powering the next innovations in health technology. The company’s annual The Check Up event expanded on its plans to add a personal health chatbot to the Fitbit app, expand Google Lens for better skin condition searches and use a version of its Gemini chatbot in the medical field.

One of the more intriguing of Google’s announcements on Tuesday was more detail about an experimental AI feature for Fitbit users, briefly teased last year. Fitbit Labs will let owners draw correlations and “connect the dots” from health data tracked using their wearable devices. A chatbot in the mobile app will let you ask questions in natural language and create personalized charts to learn about your health.

The company hasn’t yet gone into great depth about the Fitbit chatbot, but an example it published Tuesday shows a user asking about potential connections between activity and sleep. The Fitbit assistant answered that the user’s days with higher activity scores correlated with better sleep (while cautioning not to assume that’s the only reason).

The Fitbit generative AI tool will arrive later this year. Google says it will (at least initially) only be available to Fitbit Premium subscribers with Android devices enrolled in the Fitbit Labs program.

Google screenshot of an upcoming Fitbit feature that answers personal health questions. The user's text box asks about connections between their activity and sleep, and the bot says that when they spend 58+ minutes in activity zones, their sleep score rose by nine points.
Google / Fitbit

The company sees Google Lens as filling some healthcare gaps where text-based searches fall short. It says a feature (introduced last year) that uses Lens to identify “visually similar matches from the web” for skin conditions is now available in over 150 countries. It can work even when you don’t know where to begin when describing a dermatological disorder.

In a similar light, Google has added new images and diagrams to its web results from reputable online sources to help you understand conditions like neck pain. Up next: The company sees the visual results powering its searches for more health conditions, including migraines, kidney stones and pneumonia. The visual search engine updates are expected to roll out over the next few months.

The company also mentioned that Fitbit and Google Research are partnering with health and wellness experts and other medical professionals to create a new AI model for health and wellness. The long-term goal is for the Gemini-powered large language model (LLM) to power its future AI features across Google’s various health offerings.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/fitbits-health-chatbot-will-arrive-later-this-year-210609008.html?src=rss

FDA approves the first over-the-counter continuous glucose monitor

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first continuous glucose monitor (CGM) people can buy without a prescription. Dexcom's Stelo Glucose Biosensor System has a sensor users are meant to insert into their upper arm, similar to the company's other CGMs that need a doctor's prescription for purchase. It pairs with a smartphone application that can show the user's blood glucose measurements and trends every 15 minutes. 

The company designed the device specifically for adults 18 and up who are not using insulin, such as those managing their diabetes with oral medications and non-diabetics making a conscious effort to control their sugar intake. It could be a great tool for people with insulin resistance, including individuals with PCOS and other metabolic issues that heighten their probability of developing diabetes in the future. In general, it could give users the insight to be able to better understand how the food they eat and the movements they make impact their overall health. 

While CGMs aren't anything new, they've become a wellness trend on social media last year, and even non-diabetics started using them. By clearing Stelo, the FDA is making the monitors more accessible than before. "CGMs can be a powerful tool to help monitor blood glucose," said Jeff Shuren, MD, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "Today's clearance expands access to these devices by allowing individuals to purchase a CGM without the involvement of a health care provide. Giving more individuals valuable information about their health, regardless of their access to a doctor or health insurance, is an important step forward in advancing health equity for U.S. patients."

Stelo will be available starting this summer. Each patch is meant to last for 15 days before users will need to replace it. Dexcom has yet to reveal how much it would cost, but it said Stelo will "provide an option for those who do not have insurance coverage for CGM."

A gray circular device.
Dexcom

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/fda-approves-the-first-over-the-counter-continuous-glucose-monitor-130008629.html?src=rss

FDA approves the first over-the-counter continuous glucose monitor

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first continuous glucose monitor (CGM) people can buy without a prescription. Dexcom's Stelo Glucose Biosensor System has a sensor users are meant to insert into their upper arm, similar to the company's other CGMs that need a doctor's prescription for purchase. It pairs with a smartphone application that can show the user's blood glucose measurements and trends every 15 minutes. 

The company designed the device specifically for adults 18 and up who are not using insulin, such as those managing their diabetes with oral medications and non-diabetics making a conscious effort to control their sugar intake. It could be a great tool for people with insulin resistance, including individuals with PCOS and other metabolic issues that heighten their probability of developing diabetes in the future. In general, it could give users the insight to be able to better understand how the food they eat and the movements they make impact their overall health. 

While CGMs aren't anything new, they've become a wellness trend on social media last year, and even non-diabetics started using them. By clearing Stelo, the FDA is making the monitors more accessible than before. "CGMs can be a powerful tool to help monitor blood glucose," said Jeff Shuren, MD, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "Today's clearance expands access to these devices by allowing individuals to purchase a CGM without the involvement of a health care provide. Giving more individuals valuable information about their health, regardless of their access to a doctor or health insurance, is an important step forward in advancing health equity for U.S. patients."

Stelo will be available starting this summer. Each patch is meant to last for 15 days before users will need to replace it. Dexcom has yet to reveal how much it would cost, but it said Stelo will "provide an option for those who do not have insurance coverage for CGM."

A gray circular device.
Dexcom

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/fda-approves-the-first-over-the-counter-continuous-glucose-monitor-130008629.html?src=rss